December 15, 2011 By Gerry Tuoti
A new partnership between two local institutions of higher learning will give certain Bristol Community College graduates the option of completing a degree in flight training in Bridgewater State University’s aviation program.
“We’re excited about this agreement,” said David Price, associate dean of aviation at BSU. “It helps us get aviation students into our program over a much larger geographic area. They could do their initial core courses at Bristol, then the whole block will transfer seamlessly.”
Eileen Shea, BCC’s director of transfer affairs, said the partnership will allow qualifying students to transfer all their credits from BCC into the aviation program without losing any time in the pursuit of their degree.
The partnership grew from a presentation Bridgewater State gave on its aviation program during a meeting of a local education consortium to which the two colleges belong.
“We meet on a regular basis and talk about programs we could do to provide a smooth transfer for students,” Shea said.
Shea said that although she hasn’t seen a big increase in BCC students expressing interest in aviation, she suspects the new partnership could potentially generate more interest in the field.
“It’s a program that maybe not a lot of our students were aware of,” she said. “This agreement may promote interest.”
Established 30 years ago, the Bridgewater State aviation program made a move three years ago to stop outsourcing its flight training. It now has 10 airplanes and 14 certified flight instructors at New Bedford Airport.
The program, Price said, has seen growing interest in recent years. The aviation program had 60 students last year, approximately 100 this year and will likely have more than 150 next year, he said.
“There is a huge pilot shortage we entered two years ago,” he said, discussing a national trend that has had an impact on program enrollment.
The aviation program, he added, is working on establishing a similar arrangement with Cape Cod Community College.
Source: FALL RIVER HERALD-NEWS